A home on West Peachtree Street and a summer cottage off Spalding Drive may sound strange today, but it was not unusual in the 1920s and 1930s. The historic house at 8059 Kenstone Court was just such a cottage and is ready for a new family to make it their home.
Katherine Geffcken, one of Dr. William and Elizabeth Geffcken’s daughters, returned to the home of her childhood on March 11 to share her memories of the home and area during that time.
Dr. William Geffcken, a dentist in Atlanta, purchased 23.14 acres in April 1931 from Horace Thomas and J. M. Bearden for $3000. During this time, Spalding Drive was a newly built road. Prior to the existence of Spalding Drive, maps show Jett Ferry Road and Old Lawrenceville Road, which is now Dunwoody Club Drive. Roberts Drive was known as Dunwoody Roswell Road or Old Roswell Road.
Before they built the cottage, Katherine and sister Caroline would ride with their parents in their Marmon automobile to the property and have Sunday picnics under the large trees that now make up the front yard. The last part of their trip was an old wagon road to the property. They would pass Ebenezer Primitive Baptist Church as they approached the home and there was still an old wood school house on church property.
They found many arrowheads along the eastern border of the property which was part of the Hightower Trail, used by Creek and Cherokee Indian Nations. This was also the time of moonshining, so they would walk the property to check for illegal stills.
Dr. Geffcken decided to begin building after several pine trees fell in a 1935 ice storm. The outer walls were made from logs and granite. The roof, window frames, fireplace, front porch, and plank floor for the living room were the next items completed. Terraced walls and steps were built around the house. There was no electricity or water when the home was first built. Until electricity became available in 1941, they used kerosene lamps and the fireplace. A well was dug for their water supply.
The family named the cottage “Kenstone,” because from the high ridge it sits on they could see Kennesaw Mountain and Stone Mountain. Dr. Geffcken gathered timbers from the Loew’s Grand Theater when it was being remodeled and incorporated them into the home. The DeGive Opera House became Loew’s Grand Theater in the 1920’s and was the location of the 1939 premiere of Gone with the Wind. The theater burned in 1978 and is now the location of Georgia Pacific.
Dr. Geffcken also gathered Belgian blocks from old Atlanta streets that were being dug up and replaced. He placed the blocks to make a circular stone courtyard and entrance to the home. Although construction stopped for a while due to the Great Depression, it resumed in 1941. Then in 1946, the family moved permanently to the home in the country despite Mrs. Geffcken’s protests.
The Geffcken property extended to what is now Roberts Drive. There were peach trees, apple trees and blackberry bushes on this part of the land. The family planted many boxwoods, hydrangeas, azaleas, day lilies, camellias, and roses around the house and most of these remain today.
In 1973, the Geffcken’s sold the home to Rich and Lib Boggs, who have devotedly cared for the gardens and home through the years. A sign in the yard, placed by Dunwoody Preservation Trust, indicates that this is a historic property.
Being at the charming home known as “Kenstone” still feels like an escape to the country. Learn more about this historic home just off Spalding Drive in Sandy Springs by contacting realtor, Anne Voyles, Dorsey Alston Realtors at annevoyles@ dorseyalston.com or 770-317-7372.